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Nicolas Pepe Moves To Trabszonspor

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Nicolas Pepe has confirmed that he has left Arsenal to join Turkish side Trabszonspor in a permanent deal.

The move draws a line under a four-year spell at Emirates Stadium that never lived up to expectations following his club-record £72 million move from Lille.

In total, Pepe made 112 appearances for Arsenal, scoring 27 goals and making 21 assists. Along the way, he was part of the team that won the FA Cup at the end of manager Mikel Arteta’s first season.

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While the Ivorian’s numbers weren’t terrible, he struggled to maintain Arteta’s trust and he was soon usurped by a young Bukayo Saka in his preferred right-wing position.

Saka’s rapid development, his diligent attitude towards defensive work and his all-round physical sturdiness meant Pepe was regularly confined to a watching brief and the occasional cameo in cup competitions. Eventually he didn’t even make matchday squads at all.

By last summer, it was clear Pepe was going to have to leave the club to play regular football and he accepted a loan move to Nice. A return to France, where he’d been so successful with Lille, was supposed to rejuvenate the winger but knee issues meant he only played three games between January and the end of the season.

Unlike other returning loanees, Arteta made no attempt to reintegrate the 28-year-old during pre-season. Instead, the player has been training away from London Colney while his representatives attempted to negotiate a permanent move.

Several Saudi clubs opened talks with him, as did Besiktas, but he’s ultimately decided Trabszonspor is a better fit for him.

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In a statement on Instagram, he wrote: “Very happy to arrive in this country of football. New challenge for me, looking forward to getting back on the pitch and with the team bringing Trabzonspor to the top of the league!”

Despite rumours of a £3 million fee, we’ve heard that Arsenal won’t be recouping any money from the deal. I guess when you’ve written off so much, what’s a little extra…

 

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Ejike is a journalist, short story writer, poet (unpublished) and an open minded individual.

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